Book Review: The Library at the Edge of the World by Felicity Hayes-McCoy

LibraryThe Library at the Edge of the World
Felicity Hayes-McCoy
9780062663726, Harper, paperback, $15.99, Pub. Date: November 14, 2017

Publisher’s Description: In the bestselling tradition of Fannie Flagg and Jenny Colgan comes Felicity Hayes-McCoy’s U.S. debut about a local librarian who must find a way to rebuild her community and her own life in this touching, enchanting novel set on Ireland’s stunning West Coast.

As she drives her mobile library van between villages of Ireland’s West Coast, Hanna Casey tries not to think about a lot of things. Like the sophisticated lifestyle she abandoned after finding her English barrister husband in bed with another woman. Or that she’s back in Lissbeg, the rural Irish town she walked away from in her teens, living in the back bedroom of her overbearing mother’s retirement bungalow. Or, worse yet, her nagging fear that, as the local librarian and a prominent figure in the community, her failed marriage and ignominious return have made her a focus of gossip.

With her teenage daughter, Jazz, off travelling the world and her relationship with her own mother growing increasingly tense, Hanna is determined to reclaim her independence by restoring a derelict cottage left to her by her great-aunt. But when the threatened closure of the Lissbeg Library puts her personal plans in jeopardy, Hanna finds herself leading a battle to restore the heart and soul of the Finfarran Peninsula’s fragmented community. And she’s about to discover that the neighbors she’d always kept at a distance have come to mean more to her than she ever could have imagined.

Told with heart, wry wit, and charm, The Library at the Edge of the World is a joyous story about the meaning of home and the importance of finding a place where you truly belong.

WildlyRead Thoughts: This book, while set in a charming Irish village, with a charming plot about a mobile library van, was difficult to love – at first. Though I wanted to be sympathetic towards librarian Hanna (middle-aged, divorced, living with her mother), at first she is determined to make irritating decisions and have a thoroughly unlikeable attitude, which is only slightly better than the meddlesome and overbearing personality of her mother. But over time as the plot rolls along, behind-the-scene machinations make themselves clear, unexpected community members come together, and Hanna learns to open up, to let go, and to find peace, making this worth the read in the end.

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